OK, does language affect the way you think? Or is it that the way you think affects your language?
For me, it seems that I use the different languages I know for different purposes. English is for thinking stuff up—and for written communication. For information gathering. Thinking in English gives your thoughts a nice ambiguous nature; the language has an almost non–liner and intuitive feel to it.
For talking, I use Hindi & Gujarati. Gujarati at home and with just a few friends, and Hindi everywhere else. I’m not really good at using English verbally. Both Hindi & Gujarati are very similar, but with subtle differences. Hindi is much more coarse (at least the dialect we use around here). Gujarati is what you call my ‘first’ language. Surprisingly though, it’s not the language I use for thinking. Nor do I prefer it for anything else, for that matter.
Then there’s Marathi—which is similar to Hindi & Gujarati but has a very different feel to it. I could never get my head around it’s syntax. It’s a much more formal language for one thing.
Also, I can barely read Hindi & Marathi—and I cannot read Gujarati at all. Don’t ask me to write anything down in any of these languages—I can’t.
So here’s the picture—English for non–verbal and abstract stuff. Hindi & Gujarati for talking. My behaviour differs depending upon the language I use to talk. I always feel like an idiot if someone talks to me in English. Talking in Gujarati is something that puts me in ease, and Hindi is for everything else.
I think that the languages you use define your thought process in a way. Not sure what’s best for me though. For the time being, English remains my favourite language. Don’t know why the language feels as great as it feels—I’m going to try and improve my verbal skills though.
In the really long term, I plan to learn at least a couple more languages. Something Eastern—Chinese or Japanese—for one; and maybe some South–Indian language. Tamil, Kannada, et cetera…there are lots more. And the south–Indian languages are totally different from anything I know. Or maybe some European language—Spanish or Italian being my top contenders. Lets see.